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Term Definition

(skt.: hinayana; tib.: theg men) Small or lesser vehicle. It refers to one of the two general divisions of Buddhism. Hinayana is a collective term for eighteen Buddhist schools, only one of which is currently extant, Theravada. Some of the other schools are: Ekavyavaharika, Lokottaravada, Kaukkutika, Bahushrutiya, Prajnaptivadin (also Prajnaptivadin), Chaityavadin, Aparashaila, Uttarashaila, Mahasamghika, Mahishasaka, Kashyapiya, Sautrantika, Dharmottara, Bhadrayaniya, Sammatiya, Shannagarika.

Motivation of Hinayana pracititioners for following the Dharma path is renunciation of samsara and their goal is personal nirvana. This is also why this school is called lesser vehicle - because the motivation is smaller than in Mahayana. There are two kind of Hinayana practitioners: hearers and solitary-realizers.


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"Support beings with your whole nature and protect them like your own body. Indifference towards beings must be avoided like poison!"
- Nagarjuna

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